The Wolfsbane Incantation

My flash fiction story "The Wolfsbane Incantation" is now live at the website Every Day Fiction:

What made this more valuable was the feedback from the editors. While they accepted the story as submitted, they provided thoughtful suggestions about where the story could be stronger and how a particularly violent element of the story would not appeal to their readers. I knew I would be a fool not to take this free advice. I made several revisions and resubmitted the piece.

The Every Day Fiction site also allows readers to post comments and rate the story. In a matter of hours, my story has averaged four stars and has very positive comments. I'm glad I took their advice.

Letting Go

"When I let go of what I am, I become what I may be. When I let go of what I have, I receive what I need"
- attributed to Lao Tzu


At the beginning of the year I set lofty goals. One thousand words a day. One blog post a week. One story submission per month. Quite poetic in its symmetry of a quantity of one task over each time span.

At the time I believed I could accomplish the goals. It would be hard and require strict discipline and focus and time management and the lack of any other factors that might possibly cause the slightest distraction. These were unrealistic goals.

"Know thyself."
- ancient Greek aphorism


The problem with committing to something unrealistic is it can be difficult to disengage, particularly if others are involved. If I commit to help a friend move a piano I will surely live up to that promise, no matter how much my back may regret it later.

When my commitments are internal, that is when I am the only one affected by the doing or not doing, it is still hard for me to renege. The completion of that task is linked to my image of myself, my self esteem, my character. If I don't complete the task I am a failure.

The end result of this cycle is obvious. Frustration. Low self-esteem. Sadness. Depression. Procrastination. Repeat.

When the commitment involves others, a promised favor, a work assignment, a relationship, letting go can be very difficult and painful. If the promise is only to myself, no matter how public I have made it, the only person who will be affected is me.

Harry Potter and the Word Puzzle of Doom

There is a word game where the starter word is transformed to the ending word by changing one letter at a time. It is known by many names (Doublets, Word-Links, Word Ladder, etc.) and the creation of it is credited to Lewis Carroll. On the plane during a recent trip I challenged myself and my daughter to transform SNAPE to HARRY.

Yes, we had recently watched some Harry Potter videos.

What I thought would be moderately challenging became a very difficult puzzle. Spoiler: the answer I arrived at is at the end. As I worked my way through, it seemed this process compared well to that of writing in several respects.

1. There are rules to follow.

SORRY <-- Two letters changed. Not Allowed!

2. Working backwards can lead to discoveries.

HARRS <-- Plural of harr, a sea mist or wind from the east.
HERRS <-- Old Norse word for army. Non-english word, Not Allowed!

3. Mastering the rules allows one to bend or break them.

LARRY <-- Well, we are going from one proper name to another, right? Also another spelling of lorry.

Below is the full progression that I arrived at. I would love to see other solutions!


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